Getting to Yes: Perfecting Your Pitch

AIR is convening two sessions at this year’s Third Coast International Audio Festival in Chicago, November 1-3, aimed at producers who want to improve their pitching savvy. If you’re interested in being chosen to pitch your idea during “Getting to Yes: Perfecting Your Pitch,” read on.


In short: this is a real life exercise in trying to sell a story to a commissioning editor or producer. We will select a dozen pitches for the panels – 6 per session, 2 per editor.This is not a substitute for the normal channels, but it is a way to directly pitch an idea and get live, public feedback. Please note: The editors and producers will not see these pitches unless the pitch is chosen for the panel. For more on the selection process see the session wiki at

Friday, November 2, 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Peter Clowney: Weekend America
Jacob Conrad: Day to Day
Jane Feltes: This American Life

Saturday, November 3, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
David Krasnow: Studio 360
Andrea de Leon: NPR Eastern Bureau Chief
Jacquie Gales Webb: Corporation for Public Broadcasting

RFP (request for pitches): You must be ready and able to be present for the session at the appointed times above. Don’t submit a pitch if you won’t come to the session if chosen. And please do plan to come to the session whether or not your pitch is chosen.

Please write three short paragraphs that will introduce your story idea. The notes below apply mostly to individual stories pitched to the networks, a station, or program, but you can make the leap and apply them to your longer form idea or series for a funding proposal. For purposes of this exercise, choose one of the panelists/programs above and craft your pitch accordingly.

Paragraph 1. Tell us who you’re pitching to. You must have some familiarity with the programs represented on the panels, and hone your pitch accordingly. In this paragraph, let us know that you're familiar with the show and the kind of material they take from independents. You might consult the individual show website, or the AIR Pitch Page for info that’s not on the wiki. For Andrea de Leon, the NPR Bureau Chief, you’d need to have an ”Eastern” story that would work for any news magazine she works with; for Jacquie Gales Webb of CPB, give us a sense you are aware of the kind of special or series CPB traditionally funds.

Paragraph 2. Describe your idea, with particular attention to its characters. Those chosen for the session will have 8 minutes to make their pitch, live, in person to the editor/producer. Feel free to bring along sound samples of previous work, or sound that pertains to the story you’re pitching. Restrict your sound example to a total of one minute, and put it on a CD that you’ve tested previously. But remember, you only have 8 minutes.

Paragraph 3. Tell us how you're going to tell the story. Tell us about the sound, and the scenes.

We want to choose producers with a range of experience. Please tell us in your submission whether you have more than five years experience or fewer than five years experience.

Send the three paragraphs and the years of experience in an email to Steve Mencher at  Please make your subject line AIR Pitch Session. Include your email address, contact info at home, and cell phone contact in Chicago. The deadline is Friday, October 26, 2007.

We will announce the 12 chosen as close as possible to October 29th via the AIR member list, the AIR Daily, and on the wiki. We will also have a few “open” standby slots per session for those who weren’t chosen, or who didn’t submit to the RFP. More on this at Third Coast registration.